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KiiiIH ho/ 1 !/ tuMaal/ chare r\icf*f\\tat* 

build, hack, tweak, share, discover,- 


Written By: Eric Weinhoffer 



Phillips screwdriver (1) 

• ELEV-8 Quadcopter Kit (1) 

Soldering iron solder (1) 

• Wireless Transmitter (1) 

• Wire stripper (1) 

• RC Radio (1) 

• wire snips (1) 

• LiPo Battery (1) 


Parallax's Quadcopter Kit, the ELEV-8, is a great way to get into flying RC. The build is fairly 
simple and you'll end up with an awesome quad that's stable, maneuverable, and quick. For 
now, you can purchase this kit directly from Parallax , but we'll have it in the Maker Shed 

Scroll down to the "Downloads and Resources" section on Parallax's product page for an 
awesome list of helpful resources, and watch videos of it in action here . 

Throughout this build, please refer to Parallax's Assembly Diagrams ( here ). I'll be referring 
to each page in these instructions. If you've never built a quad (or done RC) before, 
definitely take a look at Hoverfly's awesome video tutorial series, found here . 

At the end of Parallax's text Assembly Guide , in Figure 2, you can see the basic idea behind 
flying multirotors with an even number of motors: the direction of spin alternates to 
counteract the torque and automatic yaw of the copter (this is the function of the tail rotor on 

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normal helicopters). By varying the speed at which each motor spins, we can accurately 
control throttle (altitude), yaw, pitch, and roll, all while staying stable. We'll be building in the 
"X" configuration. 

Step 1 — ELEV-8 


• Turn to page 1 of Parallax's Assembly Diagrams document, and start assembling your 
motors! Our set screws were already Loctited in place, but check to make sure yours are 
as well with a small Allen key before proceeding. 

• See those black spacers that came with the props? Punch the middle one out and press 
into the backside of each prop before installation. Remember, two rotate counterclockwise 
and two rotate clockwise. The tiny text should be facing up once they're mounted. 

Step 2 

Now we're going to wire up the motors. Cut three 1 foot lengths of the 16 AWG wire for 
each motor. Get some heat shrink ready, strip about a 1/4" off each end, and start 

If you don't have a heat gun, you can use a lighter or the thicker part of your soldering iron 
to "activate" the heatshrink. 

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Step 3 

• Once you have all 12 wires heatshrinked, prepare to solder the male bullet connectors. 
Each of these has small hole in it, which you can use to direct solder right into the joint. (A 
pair of helping hands will come in handy here). 

• Don't be afraid to really fill the connector with solder! After heatshrinking, these connectors 
should be very secure. 

• If you've never soldered these before, now would be a great time to check out video 
number 5 in Hoverfly's tutorial series . 


Step 4 

Carefully wrap each boom (the black circular tubes) with the included sticker wraps. Two 
red and two black! 

• Once assembled, the 2 red booms should be adjacent to each other, not opposite. 
This will help keep you oriented during flight. 


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Step 5 

• Next, we're going to fasten each motor to its mount. Put the top mount (the one with the 
larger hole) onto the motor first, then screw the bottom mount on (you should be referring 
to page 2 of the Assembly Diagrams now). 

• Fasten the motor mounts to each other with plastic spacers, washers, and bolts. Don't 
forget to slide the 3 motor wires down the boom before tightening everything up. 

Step 6 

• After screwing on the black landing gear and each boom assembly is complete, move onto 
the main frame (Assembly Diagrams, page 3). This is a simple step — just a few spacers! 

• After attaching the 4 spacers, set the top frame aside for later. 

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Step 7 

• Now refer to page 4 of the Assembly Diagrams, but don't install the top frame yet! Before 
that, attach each boom assembly to the bottom frame and start organizing your wires. I 
think you'll find that keeping the wiring neat is a real challenge on any multi-rotor build you 
do, so it's always a good idea to start organizing as soon as you can. 

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Step 8 

• Next, we're going to solder up our ESCs (Electronic Speed Controls). Each of the 3 blue 
wires gets a female bullet connector soldered onto the end. Use your helping hands to 
solder them just like the male connectors. 

• Once again, please take a look at Hoverfly's video tutorial series (number 5 is on 
soldering) if you haven't soldered these before. 

• One thing that you should do differently than I did is extend your heatshrink all the 
way to the end of the female connectors. This will insulate the connections from 
each other, preventing a short and possible crash. 


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Step 9 

• Now you can attach the ESCs to 
the frame however you want to (I 
used a few of the included cable 

• Once they're in place, go ahead 
and hook up your motors! To 
change the direction that a motor 
spins, simply unplug any 2 of the 3 
connectors and switch them. 

• Now bind your RC transmitter to 
your receiver. I'm using a 
Spectrum Dx6i transmitter and an 
Orange receiver , and the binding 
process was a breeze. Refer to 
your transmitter manual for 

• Now would be a good time to setup 
your ESCs. Turnigy's instructions 
are here . The proper settings can 
be found on page 34 of Hoverfly's 
User Guide . 

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Step 10 

• Next, install the Hoverfly Open board onto the black plastic plate (Assembly Diagrams, 
page 6), but don't install the blue rubber grommets the same way I did... make sure you 
push them into the board so they're exposed on both sides. 

• Don't over tighten these screws, since the grommets won't be able to absorb a lot of 
vibration if they're compressed too much. 

• Now flip to Assembly Diagrams page 7 and install the acrylic top plate before mounting the 
whole board assembly to the top frame. Pay attention to the orientation of the Hoverfly 
board with respect to the red acrylic, and once that's all assembled, keep it off the bottom 
frame! We'll attach everything together once the wiring's done. 

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Step 11 

• If you'd like to attach the included 
LEDs to your quad, now would be 
the time for that. One strip is red, 
and one is white (the ones with the 
yellow tinted LEDs are actually 
white). Use your soldering iron to 
heat up the joint in the middle of 
each strip, breaking it in two. 

• Now solder and heat shrink an 
additional length of wire to the 
power and ground terminals on 
each of the four strips. Once 
everything's soldered up, peel the 
protective sheet off each strip, and 
stick them onto the underside of 
each boom! 

• Don't worry about powering 
the LEDs just yet — we're 
going to wire them directly into the 
battery power so they're on 
whenever the quad's on. 

• Make sure the power and 
ground wires for each LED 
strip are long enough. I used 6-8" 
on mine. 

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Step 12 

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• Now it's time for the wiring 
harness. Here's what needs to 
happen: each of the four power and 
ground wires from the ESCs need 
to converge on a single, wider wire, 
which will be hooked up to the 
battery. We're also going to wire in 
each of the four LED strips, so that 
makes eight power and eight 
ground wires. 

• Check out video number 5 
of Hoverfly's tutorial video 
series for a great way to solder a 
wiring harness (skip to the 5:30 
mark for wiring harness). 

• Make sure you give yourself 
enough room to make all the 
necessary connections! Err on the 
side of too much wire to start with, 
and trim as needed. 

• When it's all said and done, you 
should have just 2 wires with male 
bullet connectors on them, which 
will go to the battery. Everything 
else (other than the servo leads 
coming from the ESCs and your 
receiver) should be 

• My approach was to just jump right 
in and start soldering, but I 
would've done things differently if 
I'd seen Hoverfly's video... this step 
is largely up to you, but try to keep 
it neat, and use plenty of 

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Step 13 

• Now it's finally time to install the top frame! Refer to Assembly Diagrams page 7 again, 
and screw everything into place. 

• And now you can connect your ESC and Receiver wires to the board! Refer to Hoverfly's 
SPORT quick start guide (it's not the exact same board, but the installation is the same for 
both) to connect the ESCs and your Receiver. 

• Plug your board into a PC, and download Hoverfly's Setup and Firmware Update Clients . 
Start reading at page 56 of the User Guide for instructions. 

Step 14 

• Now you should be ready to fly! Here are some tips: 

• Start nice and easy, but make sure you get the quad at least 3 or 4 feet off the ground. 

• To prevent your quad from accidently losing power in mid-air, secure your battery, and 
ensure that it won't come unplugged on its own. 

• You will crash, so buy a few extra props. 

• Keep the quad away from people while you're flying. Those motors spin very 
quickly, and getting struck by a spinning prop isn't very much fun. 


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Step 15 

• Resource List: 

• The official ELEV-8 build log on 
Parallax's forum 

• Hoverfly OPEN User Guide 

• Hoverfly Video Tutorial Series 

• Hoverfly Software Downloads 

• Hoverfly Board User Guides 

• Parallax Exploded Assembly 

• Parallax Test Assembly Guide 

This document was last generated on 201 2-1 1 -29 10:1 8:57 PM. 

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